The first issue of the Manawatu Times was published on 23 October 1875, the first newspaper in Palmerston North. Its founders, partners Joseph Poulter Leary and John Law Kirkbride, had established the Rangitikei Advocate 5 months earlier. It appeared in the evenings twice a week, though it did later become a morning publication, largely to facilitate its distribution in country areas. A weekly edition, the Manawatu Weekly Times, was published for 2 years in 1889-1891.
The paper was bought by John Boulger Dungan, who maintained strained relations with the rival Manawatu Standard, to the extent that Standard editor Alexander McMinn brought a libel case against him. He ran it until his death, at which point George Warren Russell took it over from 1882-1884.
Purchased by Mr. W.H. Smith in 1884, he ran it until 1896. The Manawatu Daily Times Company was launched in 1915. Chairman Alfred Seifert had an association of 30 years with the Times until his death in 1945.
Publication continued until 1963.